Fuchsia are beautiful plants with an interesting shape and trailing habit. They’re a great addition to your garden, hanging baskets, and containers. Click here for more gardening pointers from Ashcombe.
Fuchsias are grown in warmer parts of the world as a flowering shrub in the home landscape.
Here in Central Pennsylvania, we grow them as blooming hanging basket plants during late spring and summer. Since these plants are actually shrubs, their requirements are a bit differentthan other flowering basket plants. Here are our recommendations for growing beautiful fuchsias.
PLANT CHARACTERISTICSSince fuchsia is a shrub, it tends to develop woody stems if not kept actively growing. When theplant starts to develop too much woody tissue, the number of blooms declines. In order to keepyour fuchsia growing constantly, it needs ample moisture, fertilizer and root space. Fuchsiasbloom only on new growth. Removing faded blooms also helps produce more new ones. Stemtips can be pinched in order to promote new growth and reduce legginess.
LOCATIONFuchsias do best in light shade. Morning sun is tolerable, as is filtered afternoon sun. Hot,strong sun should be avoided if possible. Fuchsias are at their best in cool weather. Shade fromthe hot afternoon sun will help your plants to keep looking their best.
CONTAINER SIZEAny plant, if grown in too small a container, will tend to become woody and hardened. If youare buying a full-grown fuchsia basket, you may want to repot it in midsummer to allow formore root room and more moisture absorption. If you are starting from small plants, three orfour plants in a 10- or 12-inch basket will fill out nicely.
WATERINGFuchsias should be kept evenly moist. Drying out tends to halt their bloom. In the hot days of summer, you may have to water twice a day if the pot is crowded with roots. Repot into a larger pot to lengthen the time between waterings. Fuchsia also enjoy misting with a fine spray of water early in the day to help cool and humidify the plant.
FERTILIZERIn order to keep your plant actively growing, a good fertilizer is essential. A slow release, pelleted fertilizer, like Osmocote will release nutrients over 10-12 weeks. You can also use a liquid fertilizer and apply it every two weeks at a rate of one tablespoon per gallon. Finally, you can feed every time you water by using a quarter teaspoon of feed in one gallon of water.
GROOMINGFuchsias tend to set lots of seed if the green berries that form right behind the flowers are left on the plants. Once a week, it’s advisable to pick off old flowers, berries and yellowed leaves. This practice allows more energy to go into flower production. In extended periods of hot weather, check under the leaves for spider mites. Mist plants daily to discourage them.
OVER WINTERINGIn the fall, cut your plant back to within six inches of the pot. Keep it in a cool window until spring, when it should be repotted into fresh soil. Or try rooting cuttings of your plant instead of keeping the entire plant. Root the cuttings in small pots of fresh potting soil. A plastic bag placed over the pot will help keep humidity levels up. Keep them in a cool, sunny spot until spring.